Feeling Great

Speed Rounds

Two high-intensity workouts that you can sneak into the busiest of days

Got 10 minutes? Then you’ve got time for a micro workout. New studies reveal that short, high-intensity bursts of exercise can produce many of the same benefits as longer sweat sessions.

We asked two personal trainers with very different styles to show us their favorite 10-minute workouts. Pick your favorite (or alternate between the two) and squeeze a session into your daily routine.

The Workout

Count Your Rounds

Created by: Mel Austria, a personal trainer based in Maui, Hawaii
Why it Works: “Boxing is one of the most entertaining ways to stay in shape,” Austria says. “All you need is a set of three-pound weights, so you can easily do this at home. Once you start this workout, you’ll really feel the burn in the arms and shoulders. This workout is great for burning calories and toning up the body.”

How to Do It:


Start with a two-minute warm up: 30 seconds of high knees (lifting your knees to your chest, one at a time, at a fast pace); 30 seconds of jumping jacks; 30 seconds of mountain climbers (from a plank position, pull one knee to your chest as far as you can, then switch legs); and 30 seconds of pushups.


For the main workout, grab a pair of dumbbells and perform the following boxing moves:

  • 30 jabs/crosses (With the weights in each hand, punch straight forward, one hand at a time, and then bring each hand back to your chin every time)
  • 30 uppercuts (Bend your elbow down by your hip, twist hip forward, and punch up like you are trying to hit someone in the chin)
  • 5 pushups (Hold a plank with your hands directly underneath you, lower chest to the ground, and raise chest back up, all while keeping the entire body stiff as a board)
  • Finishing all three movements counts as a round. Keep track of how many rounds you can do in five minutes.

For last three minutes, do as many sit-ups as you can within 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat six times. See if you can progress with more situps each round.

The Workout

Speed Ballet

Created by: Sarah Aspinall, founder of Breaking Ballet, which offers ballet-style workouts for busy people
Why it Works: “Ballet is a wonderful activity because the focus is on your body – your balance, posture and graceful movements, and not on the ‘thing’ (like kettlebells or weights),” Aspinall says. “Ballet workouts are also high impact, so they help to burn calories, increase metabolism, build muscle mass and release feel-good endorphins.”

How to Do It:

  1. Select some inspiring piano music to play on your smartphone to channel your inner ballet dancer.
  2. Start with two minutes of pliés, (a simple movement in which you bend with your knees without your heels leaving the ground – “a bit like a sumo squat but with your butt tucked underneath,” Aspinall says).
  3. Spend four minutes doing elevés and relevés – two movements in which you raise your heels from the floor, rolling up onto the balls of your feet. Elevés are executed from first position (where your feet are turned out, with heels touching and legs straight), and relevés are executed from a plié position.
  4. Do two minutes of arabesque pulses (standing on one leg with the back leg raised).
  5. Spend two minutes doing spirited curtseys (like a lunge, but with the legs rotated out at the hip) in front of your pretend audience. Sweep your arms across your body with dramatic flair.

© Odua Images; SergeyCas